Just a Regular Issaquah Dad

Meet Train Lead Singer Pat Monahan

Photo by Brendan Walter

He has one of the most recognizable voices on the radio and has been the lead singer of one of the most popular American rock bands for decades, but when he’s home in Issaquah, he’s just a regular guy. And for that, he’s grateful.

“Well, honestly, my manager thinks that my true genius is that my music’s famous but I’m not,” said Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train. “I can live a normal life. For instance, we’ll do 45 dates — the only people that will recognize me are the people in the towns that I’m playing that day, because I’m on the radar. Otherwise, no one cares.”

Train was formed in the early 1990s and have had mega hits, including Meet Virginia, Drops of Jupiter, Calling All Angels, and so many more. They are gearing up to kick off a big summer tour at Auburn’s White River Amphitheater on June 7 with The Goo Goo Dolls and Allen Stone. Early next year they will be headlining the Train “Sail Across the Sun Cruise” experience. 

“I always used to be jealous of famous people, but then I saw the hell that they have to go through. And like, now I feel so much luckier than these people. So, I get the best of both worlds,” Monahan said. “I get to sing for people, and they know the music and it means something to them and it’s impacted their lives somehow, but my fame doesn’t really need to be part of that story. Which is great.” 

“Going on stage is kinda like putting on a cape. All of a sudden you shift into the person that they want you to be for two hours,” Monahan added. 

He enjoys quiet downtime at home with his wife Amber, and their two kids, Autumn and Rock Richard. He has two older kids, Patrick and Emelia, from a previous marriage, and he loves opening or closing out a run near his home so his family can be there.   

He enjoys the Northwest — especially when it’s sunny. For date nights, he and Amber hit Seastar in Bellevue. “I love going to Bellevue and having dinner at Seastar. I think (Chef John) Howie really figured it out. The wine is beautiful, and I don’t know, I think it’s really special.”

The family frequents The Boarding House in Issaquah, where they order the “Amber” salad and a turkey sandwich named after her sister. “The best part is this is an example of me not being famous. There’s nothing on that menu about me,” Monahan said. 

One of their favorite local festivals is Issaquah Salmon Days in October — they try to go every year, rain or shine. Hiking Twin Falls and Snoqualmie Falls with the kids also is a highlight, and spending time at the “always-great” Salish Lodge. Other things he enjoys about the area is golfing at Aldarra in Sammamish and at Gamble Sands in Brewster: “That place is incredible.” And he loves to go grocery shopping at PCC, and his oldest son introduced him recently to New Seasons Market. Cooking — especially making salmon — is his jam. He might originally be from Pennsylvania, but he’s so Northwest. 

“The best part about being here — well, I can’t imagine there being a better place in the world to live, especially in the United States than this little tucked-up corner of beautiful living, with smart, forward-thinking people,” Monahan said. “Seattle is a slightly tiered version of San Francisco, where it’s still weird and wonderful and also normal in its ways of survival.” 

The one thing Monahan could live without is the traffic congestion. But when he’s stuck on I-405 like everyone else, you will probably find him behind the wheel of a BMW — that he got from his favorite place — the dealership in Fife: “There’s a guy named Kevin Lambert there. And it’s an Irish guy from a similar place my family came from in Ireland, and he is the most wonderful guy.”  

Learn more about Train, their music, and upcoming shows at savemesanfrancisco.com.

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is the editor in chief at 425 magazine.
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